Skip to main content

The need to conduct sufficient background research

Yesterday I commented on a paper by Matthew R.  Hoffman in the Iowa Law Review. My attention had been drawn to the paper by Derek Fincham. I now stand rebuked by Fincham in a further post, "On Polite Discourse".

Fincham accepts that there were problems with the paper:
Hoffman certainly makes some mistakes, and one of the common mistakes legal writers fall into is they can often write elegantly, but fail to conduct enough background research into an area before jumping in.
The thing to remember is that the paper was not a piece of assessed course work, but an academic article that appeared in the Iowa Law Review. And Fincham is quick to remind us that the Iowa Law Review is a "well-respected legal journal". (See journal website.) So perhaps Fincham needs to ask how the editors and the anonymous referees failed to spot the "mistakes" (as Fincham puts it) in the paper?

Is it "aggressive criticism" to say "Hoffman's article has failed to engage with the current debate over 'the international movement of antiquities'"?

Bookmark and Share so Your Real Friends Know that You Know


Alexander Bauer said…
The problem is, no matter how "respected" the law journal, law reviews published by law schools are not peer-reviewed journals. Hence, while they may publish some great papers, many ones that are merely thoroughly referenced but mediocre are published too. Now if only there were a peer-reviewed journal on cultural property legal issues.... :)
David Gill said…
Thank you for bringing us all back to earth! The key thing is that we need to be sure of the quality and reliability of the articles published in the journals.
Are you suggesting such papers should be offered to a certain cultural property journal published by Cambridge University Press?
With best wishes
Wayne G. Sayles said…
I agree that Alexander's assessment is reasonable. But, when I hear the words "Peer Reviewed" I cringe because to me that means only academic review and others, not being peers, are often left to read the views of like-minded people. Peerage is an archaic concept that needs some modification in our age.
David Gill said…
There needs to be a review by informed readers prior to acceptance for publication.

Popular posts from this blog

Marble bull's head from the temple of Eshmun

Excavations at the temple of Eshmun in Lebanon recovered a marble bull's head. It is now suggested that it was this head, apparently first published in 1967, that was placed on loan to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art (Tom Mashberg, "Met Museum Turns Over Another Relic With Disputed Past to Prosecutors", New York Times August 1, 2017 ). The head is reported to have been handed over to the Manhattan district attorney after a request was received from the Lebanese authorities.

It is suggested that the head may have been looted from an archaeological storage area at Byblos in the 1980s during the Lebanese civil war. Mashberg has rehearsed the recent collecting history:
The owners of the bull’s head, Lynda and William Beierwaltes of Colorado, say they have clear title to the item and have sued Manhattan prosecutors for its return.  The Beierwaltes bought the head from a dealer in London in 1996 for more than $1 million and then sold it to another collector, Michael …

Sardinian warrior from "old Swiss collection"

One of the Sardinian bronzes of a warrior was seized from an as yet unnamed Manahattan gallery. It appears to be the one that passed through the Royal-Athena Gallery: Art of the Ancient World 23 (2012) no. 71. The collecting history for that warrior suggests that it was acquired in 1990 from a private collection in Geneva.

Other clues suggested that the warrior has resided in a New York private collection.

The identity of the private collection in Geneva will no doubt be telling.

The warrior also features in this news story: Jennifer Peltz, "Looted statues, pottery returned to Italy after probe in NYC", ABC News May 25 2017.

Mithras relief from Tor Cervara

A fragmentary relief of Mithras was discovered in 1964 at Tor Cervara on the outskirts of Rome. It was acquired by the Museo Nazionale Romano.

A further fragment of the relief was acquired by the Badisches Landesmueum in Kalrsruhe in 1976. The source was an unstated Swiss dealer. This fragment has been reunited with the rest of the relief [press release].

Today a further fragment of the relief was reunited with the other pieces. This had been recovered during a raid in Sardinia.